Applejack Cocktail

An American Classic


It's colder out, and the sky seems to be fairly filled with clouds and rain. Autumn must have pushed it's way past summer and appears to be in full force. What to do? Take advantage of it all, that's what. One of my favorite fall activities is apple picking; I love the heirloom apples that dot orchards around the city. In addition to the apples we now have great cider flowing, but with weather this biting, something even more intoxicating might be in order. Applejack perhaps, that old American standby?

Applejack has quite a history and is a very unusual spirit indeed. Instead of being distilled from fermented juice, as most spirits are, Applejack originally was jacked. Jacked? Yes, jacked!
So what is jacked, and how did it happen. Well almost certainly by accident is the answer to the second part of that question. The technique of jacking an alcoholic beverage takes advantage of the differences in freezing points of water and alcohol. Water freezes at a higher temperature, and when it has formed, that ice it can be removed from the solution, thus effectively raising the concentration of the remaining alcohol.

Most likely Applejack, which is simply apple brandy aged in wood barrels for two years, was first produced by accident when a barrel of hard cider was left exposed to the elements. An unwitting farmer must have moseyed over to the that barrel on one cold day when much of the water was locked up in the form of ice. The resulting spirit packed quite a wallop, and once that farmer's head cleared, Applejack was born.

There are other apple spirits, such as the famed Calvados from France's Normandie region, and it's likely that they all originated through this jacking technique. Today all of these spirits are produced through vapor distillation, which removes impurities in the spirit as well as concentrating the alcohol.

In any case, autumn is time for some apple cocktails, and not ones using Sour Apple Pucker my friends. So break out the authentic apple spirits and mix up a batch of something soul warming, like a classic Applejack cocktail or a super enriched Apple Pie!

Jacked Apple Pie

6 oz Apple cider (not hard cider)
1 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
1 oz Applejack
Cinnamon and Whipped cream to garnish


1) Add the cider and spirits to a mixing glass filled with ice.
2) Shake the ingredient until blended and chilled
3) Strain into a cocktail glass
4) Garnish with whipped cream and a sprnkle of cinnamon

This can also be prepared as a mulled cider version. Simply add you spirits to the warmed cider, garnish and serve

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  • Thanks for mentioning Calvados, the only non-grape based beverage in France having an appellation controlee. The best Calvados denominated Pays d'Auge can be a revelation as good as Cognac. And cider in Brittany and Normandy with crepes -- another story worth telling. North America has great apples. They should have the best apple brandy too.

    Oct 05, 2010 at 9:00 PM

  • Snooth User: bdf
    601254 5

    There are also a least a couple of AOC for cider, Le Cournouaille in Brittany and AOC Cidre du Pays d'Auge in Normandy.

    Normandy also has AOCs for Poire (pear cider) and Pommeau (a blend of apple juice and Calvados).

    Oct 06, 2010 at 4:43 AM

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